Things started badly, when on all of the first three boards we had chances at game, but unfortunately played the partscore hand in game and the two game hands in partscore. Our next chance at game came when we had 25 points but no Heart stop, so wisely stopped in 3♣. However, this was the layout of the Heart suit, with West on lead:
|♥ J x x|
|♥ K Q T x x||♥ A x|
|♥ x x x|
To beat 3NT West needs to lead a low Heart, which never happened, so where it was bid 3NT made.
That turned out to be all the good cards we had in the first half, and our opponents went on to rack up a series of games against us. At the half way point Team Rowan was about 2000 points down. The damage was softened by some nice gingerbread cake.
In the second half the contracts were low, until we got to the 'slam hand' (rotated so Anna is South and I'm North).
1. Looking at just North and South, what contract would you like to be in?
Me and Anna ended up in 6♣. It was not a success. This was the full deal and our terrible auction:
Surprisingly, all of these were natural bids. I opened 1♥ and Anna replied 2♣. Fine so far. I then went for a three card reverse of 2♠, despite having a perfectly good 3♥ rebid available. My addled thinking was that my hand would be a good dummy for Clubs, and if I rebid 3♥ we can't get to Clubs. Anna bid 3NT. I didn't fancy that with my singleton Diamond and six Hearts so bid 4♥ to play, and now the wheels came off. Anna quite reasonably corrected to 4♠, and since I knew that was a 3-3 fit I escaped to 5♣. Unfortunately it didn't end there; Anna corrected me back to 5♥, and I went for 6♣. This was passed out.
Before the opening lead the opposition asked a flurry of questions about the auction. We couldn't tell them much, as we'd just got into a muddle and don't have agreements for bidding on after 3NT like this. West kept asking me what I guessed my partner's bids meant. I was a bit uncomfortable guessing but said that I thought Anna's bids could be cuebids or could be natural. East asked me at what point we'd agreed Clubs. I said not until the 6♣ bid!
West lead a Spade, then on seeing dummy reserved her rights, presumably because she thought she'd been misinformed. The only thing I can think of that could be misinformation is that during the explanation I was asked about my shape and said that my bidding had shown six Hearts and four Spades
2. Was I wrong to say this?
Perhaps she reasoned that since I also supported Clubs I must have a Diamond void, so she'd been deceived out of leading a Diamond. Anna won the Spade lead and immediately finessed Clubs, losing to the ♣K. West still didn't lead a Diamonds, instead playing another Spade. Anna drew the remaining trumps. She now has a chance to make the contract if she can set up the Hearts, which needs them 3-3 and a good guess as to who has the King. She went for the straight finesse, which lead to two down.
Note that the other way to play 6♣ is to try and ruff Diamonds, which makes whenever you have no Club losers.
The other two tables I talked to afterwards managed to play in 4♥, which is good going as 3NT goes down on a Diamond lead. 5♣ also makes.
Anna and I obviously lost a game swing for our team on this hand, but pulled back some points with good defence later on, then on the very last board Anna bid and made our only game.
In the end Team Rowan lost by about 1600 points, for a 5-11 defeat.